How will Matisse Thybulle be remembered as a Sixer is he’s traded this summer?

How will Matisse Thybulle’s tenure as a 76er be remembered if he’s traded?

Will people remember him as a two-time All-Defensive second-team selection? Will they recall his offensive shortcomings? Or will they say the Sixers gave up on him too soon?

I’m of the belief that the Sixers would be giving up on him too soon. But I also believe Thybulle may be better off going to a new place, a change of scenery.

That’s because it’s nearly impossible to flourish while looking over your shoulder on the court and constantly being mentioned in potential trades. It’s also hard to maintain confidence in those situations, especially when it comes to shooting.

Lack of confidence leads to hesitation. And if you sense that your coach isn’t fully behind you or will bench you for a miscue, it can become tough to thrive. But if Thybulle goes to a new situation, he’ll get a fresh start and play with more confidence.

» READ MORE: NBA Draft: Sixers shouldn’t sign PJ Tucker, trade Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris | Marcus Hayes

At that moment, the Sixers will probably regret trading him.

Some have noted that the three-year veteran guard’s offensive game has regressed to be the point of being useless. They have labeled the dominant perimeter defender as one-dimensional. And some believe his actions may have denied them opportunities to advance deep into the last two postseasons.

Some haven’t fully forgiven him for fouling Kevin Huerter on a three-point attempt with the Sixers down, 93-92, against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals. The Hawks guard made all three foul shots to give Atlanta a four-point lead. On the ensuing possession, a Joel Embiid turnover, his eighth of the game, led to a breakaway layup by Danilo Gallinari at the other end to make it 98-92. The Sixers would go on to lose, 103-96.

A lot of people point to Ben Simmons, blaming the loss on him for passing up a wide-open dunk with 3 minutes, 29 seconds remaining and his team down two points. Coincidentally, the pass went to Thybulle, who made just one of two free throws. So Thybulle still took some of the blame for fouling Huerter.

Some also pointed fingers at Thybulle for this postseason’s second-round elimination because he was unvaccinated. As of Jan 15, players needed to be fully vaccinated to the enter Canada. As a result, Thybulle was ineligible to play in Games 3, 4, and 6 of the Sixers’ opening-round series against the Raptors. He was even replaced in the starting lineup by Danny Green because he was not available for every game.

Even though the Sixers won the series in six games, some blamed Thybulle’s actions for disrupting the team’s chemistry and rotation.

If we’re going to be honest, Embiid’s injuries and James Harden’s struggles had more to do with the Sixers losing to the Miami Heat in the conference semifinals than the aftereffects of Thybulle’s decision.

He has been mentioned in potential trades for two seasons, so this isn’t breaking news.

Sources said the Sixers tried to trade him and Simmons to the Houston Rockets for Harden in January 2021. He survived that.

A month later, the Sixers tried to acquire Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors. But they were unwilling to part with Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey.

Another survival.

And before February’s trade deadline, the Sixers were unwilling to include him in the trade package they sent to the Brooklyn Nets to acquire Harden.

A third survival.

And he survived Thursday, the day of the NBA draft.

The Sixers tried to acquire the Rockets’ Eric Gordon on draft night, using Thybulle as an asset. They even attempted to get a third team to participate, according to multiple league sources.

» READ MORE: Daryl Morey’s trade for De’Anthony Melton shows he still has to fix the Sixers’ own mistakes

But how many trade lives does Thybulle have left, especially when he’s one of the Sixers’ few trade chips?

Right now, it’s easy to think back to his being often left open for shots, especially in the playoffs, while his defender roamed around or double-teamed another player.

Thybulle, however, was never able to focus on improving his offensive game before this offseason.

He couldn’t work out during the pandemic lockdown following his rookie season. Then he spent last summer with the Australian men’s basketball team, winning a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

This summer, he’s been working with the Sixers skills development coaches even though the team is trying to trade him.

Thybulle’s determined to improve.

As my colleague Marcus Hayes points out, Thybulle has shot 32.4% from three in his first three seasons. Hall of Famer Jason Kidd made just 32.3% of his threes during his first three campaigns and didn’t make an All-Defensive team until his fifth season.

No one’s saying Thybulle is on Kidd’s level, but it illustrates that proficient shooting develops over time.

Folks forget how Andre Iguodala was vilified as a Sixer for not living up to other people’s expectations. Some thought Jrue Holiday was replaceable, a dime-a-dozen point guard they said.

But think about how good the Sixers would be if they were both still on the team, or were at least allowed to grow and blossom here.

Iguodala went on to become a 2015 NBA Finals MVP and four-time NBA title champion with the Golden State Warriors. Holiday’s versatility on both ends of the floor helped the Milwaukee Bucks win the 2021 NBA title.

Like the duo, Thybulle has a chance to flourish once he develop a consistent offensive game.

So, how will he be remembered assuming the Sixers do trade him?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.